The Jakarta Post
The year 2018 is inching to a close, allowing people to look back, reminisce on their ups and downs, and then look ahead, planning for the coming New Year. (JP/File)
The year 2018 is inching to a close, allowing people to look back, reminisce on their ups and downs, and then look ahead, planning for the coming New Year.
SEBASTIAN GUNAWAN, a multitalented designer with a fashion career spanning over 25 years:
“The year 2018 is almost over and first of all, I am grateful that everything was just fine this year. There were challenges of course, but personally, I got through them just fine. I am also grateful, and thankful to God as things are much better [this year]. And I hope in 2019, the situation will be so much better.
There are plans that are not yet realized, like as I said earlier, [I want] to come up with full collections — from fashion, accessories, shoes and bags, to makeup, perfume, tableware and houseware, like renowned international brands. One’s ambition, especially those working in creative field, certainly wants to try to have such a complete collection. But again, it will depend on time, situation and with whom we have to partner up.
For next year, so far, I don’t have too many plans but to prepare my regular solo show. For me, New Year is a new challenge where we have to be able to look back to prepare for new challenges and better things in the future.”
JOKO ANWAR, a renowned film director and scriptwriter:
“My accomplishments this year? I finished a lot of projects. Gundala finished filming, I wrote the script for Orang Kaya Baru [Nouveau Riche] and I had the chance to play in five films this year.
I think I was quite productive in 2018. My resolution for this year was to be more productive, and I accomplished that.
The year 2019 will see the release of Orang Kaya Baru and Gundala, and also another one that will start filming in March and will be released by the end of the year. The title is Impetigore and the Indonesian title is Perempuan Tanah Jahanam [Woman of The Cursed Land]. It’s a horror-thriller movie about a woman who returns to her village, without knowing that the village has been cursed.”
SAPARDI DJOKO DAMONO, a prominent poet and writer whose works have been translated into over 10 languages:
“This year, I’m happy I was able to launch the third book in the Hujan Bulan Juni [Rain in June] trilogy, along with my poetry anthology Perihal Gendis[About Gendis], which I think is important in my efforts to find new literary devices to develop.
In 2019, I will be launching two short story collections, hopefully along with a novel I couldn’t finish this year. My problem every year is trying to find new ideas that are different to those I already published. I was not always be in my best physical condition this year, so I’m thankful I could finish several books.
I hope I can control my activities next year, so I can work from home a lot more. My hope for 2019 is that literacy can be improved by refining people’s ability in reading all kinds of literature, instead of merely giving out books non-stop. Increasing literary appreciation is much more important in my opinion.”
MOULY SURYA, a writer-director whose critically acclaimed 2017 film Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts won 10 awards at this year’s Indonesian Film Festival, including the Citra award for best director:
“The year was challenging because my father-in-law passed away earlier in the year. My own dad passed away as well before we shot Marlina in 2016. So, it was as if the film was bracketed by the death of both of our fathers, our role models. As you might probably know, my husband, Rama Adi, is my producer and also Marlina’s co-writer.
Professionally, I must say Marlina has changed my life. It opened up a lot of new opportunities. I know some people probably have this impression that all my films have won awards and are creatively successful; yes, but not on the scale of Marlina. I was proud but also wary. I don’t want to bask in it, don’t want to be complacent. I said this when we just finished editingMarlina in early 2017 to Rama: ‘I still can do better. I still want to do better’.
Winning a Citra [award] is a great way to end this year. I was really happy my cast and crew got the appreciation they all deserved for their dedication to Marlina. Honestly, this year has gone by in a kind of a blur. Too much traveling, honestly, which was great, but I am not a fan of living in a suitcase and planes. But those travels brought me to two memorable highlights of my year — meeting and speaking in great details with two film directors whose works I greatly admire.
At the Palm Springs International Film Festival, they assigned the same car to drive me to LA with 120 Beats Per Minute director, Robin Campillo. And boy, it was a two-hour masterclass of filmmaking in that car.
A few weeks ago, when I was a jury for Tokyo Filmex, I also spoke to Sergey Dvortsevoy about his award-winning film Ayka at a party. I was in awe of the film and he shared great details on how he made it. The film was so strong and intense and in a completely different level, it could be the highlight of my year, [even] without that conversation.
[I have] no regrets [this year]. I am a very practical person. The New Year means a holiday; a lot of deadlines to meet for this week and then holiday! I don’t romanticize it. The Roman calendar is not even accurate, or so I’ve read. Finishing my new script is my most important plan [for next year] and keep practicing Ashtanga Yoga practice every morning and also spending more quality time with my daughter, Reisachi.
LAKSMI PAMUNTJAK, an award-winning novelist, poet, journalist and food writer:
“The year 2018 has been a rather depressing year for me. It’s seen a huge wave of hatred, xenophobia and violence sweeping across the world, the rise of the far-right across Europe and the United States, democracies from the Philippines to South Africa, from Hungary to Venezuela, tumbling and falling. Yemen and Syria continue to suffer deeply, and at home, we — a nation long celebrated for its diversity and pluralist ethos — are also sinking deeper into the mire of intolerance. So, in that sense, it’s been a terrible year, and it has affected the mood and charge of intellectual debates in public forums I’ve participated in, especially in Germany and the United Kingdom.
On the professional and personal front, it’s been, as usual, a mix of triumphs and defeats, action and reflection. I’ve been doing what I’ve always been doing. I get holed up, I protect my solitude, I write doggedly. Then once the book is finished, I travel and promote the book. I also take on multiple projects that would ‘subsidize’ my creative writing. This part is never easy to juggle and remains a struggle.
There were some career highlights that made me rejoice: launching my third novel, Herbstkind, at the Berlin International Literary Festival, the premiere of the movie Aruna dan Lidahnya [The Birdwoman’s Palate], based on my second novel. But most moving were the more personal moments: my daughter’s graduation from university in the US, her lovely wedding ceremony two months ago. My daughter is my pride and joy, ‘my world entire’, as Cormac McCarthy would say.
[One thing that I’d like to do differently this year] I’d like to breathe more; be calmer and more focused. I’d like to make life not — or less — about work. Spend more time with my parents, my daughter and my son-in-law in Boston, my beloved friends.
We all know nothing intrinsically changes at one second past Jan.1. But, somehow, we’ve decided that this change is different. It’s the time to reflect, take stock, assess how we did, and resolve to do better going forward. I think it stems from our basic instinct — our motivation to survive.
I don’t have lofty ambitions. I just want to finish my latest book, a collection of short stories about women in relationships as soon as possible. Afterwards, I want to do a study on blasphemy. I also want to improve my German, my cooking and learn something new — dance, maybe.”
ARAHMAIANI, one of Indonesia’s most respected contemporary artists:
“My focus is more on working with communities, dealing with cultural, social, political and environmental issues in Indonesia as well as abroad, like in Tibet and Germany.
Yes, I am happy with what I have accomplished this year, especially with my solo show at Museum MACAN. My new Nusantara Flag Project with the Tritura art community and youths from 14 subdistricts in Yogyakarta also gave me happiness and a sense of hope that this country’s future is still quite bright.
The New Year should mean new hope and new ideas. I want my biography and book about my work experience in Tibet to be ready and published either next year or the year after next year, as I will be celebrating my 10 years of work up in ‘The Roof of the World’.”
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